There is a nut on the side of the magneto body..i'm assuming that it is a grounding wire?? Also i was looking for some info about setting the timing. THe bike is having trouble starting and i am thinking it has to do with the magneto.
The nut is a ground. There kind of rare, the internals I think are almost exact as Joe Hunt Mags so replacements shouldn't be too bad. Most likely the timing is correct if it was ever setup right. Do you have a 67 or later? Or a 67 or later primary cover? It will be easier to explain the timing over the internet if this is the case. If its a stock 650 the valves should be .002 and .004. By the looks of the pipes I gonna say its a chopper.
Joe Hunt and A.R.D were two providers of aftermarket magneto setups originally designed for dirttracking, drag racing and other competition type use. Both Joe Hunt and A.R.D. were really just manufacturing the adapting castings and associated pieces to adapt a common Fairbanks-Morse magneto head to different types of motorcycle engines. The Triumph A.R.D. was desireable due to the mag placement tucked in front of the engine. The equivelent Joe Hunt mag hung straight out of the timing cover awaiting damage if the bike was crashed or layed over onto it's right side. The bakalite plastic distributor cap and rotor would shatter and you'd be dead in the water. The Fairbanks-Morse mags were commonly used on industrial type engines (i.e. tractors, generators, etc.) in 1, 2 and 4 cylinder configurations. I believe most of the Fairbanks-Morse mag heads are basically the same, only the point cam and dist. caps are different depending on the amount of cylinders. A.R.D. is Alan R. Delios who still manufactures and sells ignition setups for motorcycles, but they are now more compact and of the CDI variety. I don't think the older A.R.D. units are all that rare, but maybe since Alan is from California there are more of them here on the west coast. It seems that almost every street tracker or bobber/chopper Triumph out here has one. Either way, they still command a decent price as one of the original go-fast goodies of the day. E-bay is always good for at least a couple of A.R.D. items at any given time. Do an e-bay search for Fairbanks-Morse and you'll find even more magneto items at give away prices. I believe Alan will still service and sell parts for the older units. His contact info. is
10628 Norwalk Blvd.
Santa Fe Springs, Ca.
I've heard horror stories of Alan taking 6 months to a year to refurbish a unit like yours. I've also heard the bearings and toothed belts are common industrial items available at many bearing supply houses. You should be able to have the mag head serviced or obtain points, cap or rotor at any industrial engine or farm implement shop that works on vintage tractors. Years ago I bought a Triumph A.R.D. unit like yours at a swap meet for $30. It had a bad mag head that cost me about $100 to have completely rebuilt by a local electric motor rebuilder. Nice fat, blue spark when I got it back. I installed it on a 1968 Triumph 650 I owned at the time and a week later was offered $300 for the A.R.D..... SOLD!
Cheers, Bret @ Glass from the Past
Fairbanks-Morse was the name I couldn't remember, thanks Bret. I have a small box of new Fairbanks-Morse parts if you run in to a jam. Plus Hutchinson Cycle has got some spares for them and I know Hutch knows them pretty well.